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What’s the Difference between a Shrub and a Bush?

What is that short plant at the front of your house? Is it a shrub, a bush, or something else entirely? Shrubs and bushes have many similarities, but the question is – are they the same thing? Let’s take a closer look at these horticulture terms.

Are Shrubs and Bushes the Same Thing?

For the most part, the terms “shrub” and “bush” can be used interchangeably. Both describe low, densely-branched plants. Shrubs and bushes are much shorter than trees, and they can be sculpted into a variety of shapes. They are perennial, and most species are evergreen.

Trees, Shrubs and Hedges…Oh My!

If we take this discussion one step further, both bushes and shrubs can grow in groups to form a hedge. Hedges are commonly used as natural fences on property lines, but they may also be used to define walking paths, highlight architectural structures, and create a foundation for a landscape design.

Furthermore, some small shrubs are actually classified as trees. They are colloquially called shrubs because of their short stature, but they have a single trunk like a tree. This is the main factor that separates trees from bushes. Shrubs/bushes have multiple trunks, but trees branch from a central structure.

Surprising Benefits of Shrubs in Landscape Design

Shrubs add to your curb appeal, but they serve a much greater purpose. Here are some unexpected benefits of adding bushes to landscape design.

  • Energy Efficiency: Having bushes on the east or west side of your home could improve your energy efficiency. The shrubs block UV rays in the spring and summer to keep your foundation cool. When they shed their leaves in the fall and winter, they allow the sunlight to hit the foundation and warm the base of the home.
  • Hardy Landscaping: Shrubs are some of the easiest landscaping features to care for, especially when you have professionals like Berns Landscaping on your side. Bushes can survive harsh Michigan winters and come back vibrant in the spring.
  • Air Filtration: Having shrubs around your property could improve your air quality. The shrubs naturally filter the air and produce clean oxygen, providing an enjoyable environment all year long.
  • Sculptural Design: There are few plants that offer the sculptural element that shrubs provide. Your shrubs can be round, square, spiraled, ascending, descending, and much more. This versatility is the perfect backdrop for an eye-catching landscape design.

For more information about shrub care in Michigan, contact Berns Landscaping at (586) 756-1145.